Being prepared for a natural disaster/emergency!

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The last decade has taught me a lot about being prepared for emergencies. You NEVER know when you will lose power for days, and my experience: it usually goes out very close to dark, so you don’t have much time to prepare. That’s exactly what happened to us recently! A storm came through starting around 7pm, took the power out, and we were without it ~36 hrs! They were able to restore power to everyone BUT us in my immediate area. We were without longer because we had a limb wrapped up in the lines in OUR yard. The power crews were dealing with F1 tornado damage just 30 miles south. And each & every neighboring county was impacted one way or another, so all crews were working around the clock. They told us it could be days. It was 2 nights, and they got it back around 4am that 2nd night/morning. This was the last straw in us finally getting our own generator. We’ve lived through 4 major floods in the last decade. I’m only 37, so know that in my 60+ years I have left, I’ll likely live through many more. I’ve learned we’re just 1 all-night rain away from a flood here. And although we’re not in the “tornado belt” the F1 tornado was just 1 county to the south. Be it excessive rain, winds, tornadoes, ice storms, snow storms, the chance of us needing our $400 generator multiple times in the coming decade is quite good I think! The peace of mind that comes along with having it now, is priceless.

My Hubby had just gotten off THIS water (the MS River) 2 hrs before THIS front hit & knocked our power out:

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Speaking of water…. When we lose power, we also lose our well water. The pump that pumps it from the ground is electric. We knew to fill up as many containers as possible with drinking water, while we had the chance. Then we had a limited time to collect everything in the pipes before nothing comes out of our tap. We also can’t flush toilets then. This is fine for a couple hours, but going on 36+ hrs, it gets old quick. So when it rained all day following our initial power outage (and greatly contributing to the flooding), we got smart & filled up every cooler and large container we could find with rain water. We used this for flushing toilets & doing a batch of dishes, until the power came back the next day.

Then we bought the generator! One of the worst things about flooding where I live, is we live on the banks of the flooding river. We live up on the high side, so our house is not in danger, but 2/3 of our exits from our house to neighboring towns always go under, check out this pic, this is our exit to the south:

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BUT, we were able to make our way uphill via our one & only exit, and to our locally owned hardware/ One-Stop-Shop store, and they had Briggs & Straton Generators on the shelf! By 2pm, after being without power since 7pm the night before,  in 95 degree heat, we were able to power our deep freeze and fridge w/ freezer up top for several hours, bringing them back up to full freeze. As well as a  small room A.C with a fan so we were able to get a good night sleep that 2nd night. We went through about 4 gal of gasoline in ~12 hrs. That gave me an idea of how much I should always have on hand.  The sound of the generator (they are VERY loud) was drowned out by the A.C, so that was nice.

We don’t own smart phones, and the internet was taken out along with our power. So it was a very interesting feeling of truly being disconnected & now knowing what was going on out there, except I could text with my phone & knew others in my area had power restored, but we did not. It was hours later we saw the limb on the line in our yard.

BATTERY POWER: A few months ago we invested in 4 (1 for each family member) rechargeable battery fans for camping. They have certainly came in handy during the 4 camping trips we’ve been on so far this Summer. They are also GREAT to have on hand for Summer storms. Unfortunately we had not yet re-charged them from the camping trip we had returned from 3 days prior. LESSON: always re-charge fans (and other equipment) after each use. They would’ve reallllly helped me get some sleep that 1st night when it was very hot & humid & I could not open the windows since rain was blowing in sideways. Thankfully, the kids slept all night, but I didn’t sleep at all…. Same goes for flashlights. We own a ton of them and had plenty of them charged & ready to go. I’m not that comfortable with burning candles during a storm. What if a tornado did hit the house with a tornado going & start us on fire….?  But I do keep some in the reserves just in case we have no other option for light. Lack of light is not a big deal, it’s lack of water & power to freezers that is a big deal. I kept telling my kids: it’s like we’re camping from home… Except we don’t usually have a thawing deep freeze with us.

The rechargeable fan we have via Amazon link, USB chargeable, and uses laptop batteries (of which my Hubby has many as a computer tech): http://amzn.to/2sHvW2Y

 

These are some tips sent in by group members on this topic:

— ” I just heard a story of a woman who died from carbon monoxide poisoning after the pilot light on her furnace was extinguished from flood water. She had no detector. It may seem like a obvious but then again not. Checking those detectors is SO important.” And indeed, our appliances do largely run on gas, and we do also have a detector. This is the one we have: I just heard a story of a woman who died from carbon monoxide poisoning after the pilot light on her furnace was extinguished from flood water. She had no detector. It may seem like a obvious but then again not. Checking those detectors is SO important.”

–“We have a “go bag” for every family member that has food, water, clothing, reusable diapers, pads, etc..and other essential survival type items. We have it packed all the time and go through it once a quarter to make sure all items are good, etc….it helps during tornado season since we live in a manufactured home and they don’t hold well in tornadoes.

–” I live near New Orleans, so my family went through Hurricane Katrina. We didn’t have electricity for weeks. We had a generator, so we could watch the news, power an a/c unit, and have a light. We used our grill, which also had a stove to cook. We also ate MREs a few times. We just dealt with it and did the best we could with what we had!

–“I think it depends on where you live. We live at high risk for wildfire so my prep plan is two fold, if we only have minutes to leave my truck has extra clothes for each person, snacks, blankets, dog food and leash so we literally just get in and run. Second plan if we have more time grab the camping gear and run. If you have all the gear to camp + shelf stable food & water it should be okay. We already buy in bulk rice and beans I just make sure I don’t let them get low. Having a water filter is good too but not as helpful if you’re not near water as stored water. When you know how to camp with a family it makes it easier if you have to “extended camp” in your house or other location if your home is unsafe.

–“Cash! If the power is out and you can’t use the atm, or stores/gas stations cant use credit cards, bank maybe not open yet, you’ll have no funds. I keep a small purse in my go bag with a 2nd license and throw cash in there whenever i have a spare $5 or $10 for emergency money.”

–“Having copies of important documents in a safe place other than your home. Also having knowledge of where the gas and water shut offs are in your home and how to shut the off/tools needed is good to know. Power converters for vehicles so that you can plug in items for charging like phones/etc are nice in case you do not have a generator.

COMMENT FROM JESS: Yes, I keep all my most important docs (SS cards, birth certificates, letters to my kids) in our safety deposit box at the bank, it is high & dry & away from flood danger.

–” Being from Joplin Missouri and tornadoes and now in Georgia and hurricanes. Having at least 1 gallon of potable (drinking) water per person per day for three days. Because boiling isn’t always good enough. We also have the msr guardian water purification pump. It’s a bit pricey but water is so important. And some awesome water cans not American but they are the best I’ve found to not leech chemicals is specter cans from Canada. If you have a generator you would need to have proper fuel storage that does emit fumes also by specter is really good. We also have a small solar panel that charges a few power blocks and lights and batteries for our battery fans. Keeping all medications and emergency medical items up to date and in one central location labeled is also important. Along with any major legal documents being in something that protects them. Dry ice can actually keep a deep freezer pretty frozen for several days also as long as you don’t open it. Many grocery stores have it you just have to ask.

–” I’m working on a bug out bag, or rather a bug out suitcase for my family of 4. I’m adding items when they come available. Work gloves, basic tools, extra clothes, first aid…. It was recommended to have 1 bag vs separate bags for a family since it the likelihood of a disaster it would be more efficient to grab one. I thought that was a great tip!

–“We used to live in an area that is often in the path of hurricanes so my preparation is based more on if we have to evacuate. We keep all important documents in a small fireproof box that’s shaped like a suitcase. It’s ready to grab should we need to go. It also contains a spare set of epi pens for my son. We keep a go bag also with a copy of the docs, more epi pens and some non perishable foods that are safe for him along with items others have mentioned. My biggest fear is being unable to access safe food for him and not having his medication

–“We also have a generator. We have used it many times for our sump pump, the primary reason we purchased it. We also have hooked up the fridge and a few lamps. We have even run the whole house’s heat system off of it during bad snow storms. Totally worth the expense!

 

MY post from 7.21.17:

“When people say climate change isn’t real, I have to shake my head. While we can differ over the causes of that climate change, it IS real. Here in SW Wisco, we’re on track to come in 2nd, or break, the historic flood level for my tiny little river town. I’ve lived through two “500 year floods” in the last decade. Yes, it is a river town, built on the banks of a river for a reason (sawmill & other milling needs). And yes, as it has flooded repeatedly, the town has adapted & built further & further away from the banks of the river…

Below are historical flood crests, since they’ve been keeping record. 3 of them are in my lifetime, the 1978 one was when my parents had just moved here, I was born 1 year later in 1979. And the pic below is the predicted for this food. It will either be #1, or #2 likely…

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1: 20.44 ft on 06/09/2008
2: 19.80 ft on 07/02/1978
3: 19.79 ft on 08/20/2007
4: 16.75 ft on 02/10/1966
5: 16.50 ft on 06/01/2000

I personally am high & dry on the banks of the mighty river. I have a birds-eye view of this meandering river becoming a whole valley full of water. I take nothing for granted, nor do I ever doubt the power of Mother Nature.”

 

Below is the view from my front steps. I believe it ended up being the 5th largest on record, it is still to be determined, will update soon.

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And to end with a chuckle: my 6 year old Son’s “survival kit” is in the photo below. We did have severe thunderstorm & tornado warnings. We do not have a basement. My home was built on a cement slab, and into the north side of a hill. I like no having a basement, as when it floods, most homes have basements full of water. I do not. And I’m incredibly “tucked in” from a storm. I started filling water jugs as soon as the power was cut. I also grabbed pillows & blankets, and made the closet comfy, JUST IN CASE. My Son packed the below: his net, water balloons, completely random, not that important stuff. It seriously cracked me up.

 

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But we all did worry for a bit, it was an intense few days. My 4 year old daughter kept looking at the flooding waters saying: this is NOT good. Not good Mama… I wanted to share all this info to maybe urge YOU to become prepared. Whether you use your survival gear once every 10 years, or 5 times in 10 years, it’s worth it. Seriously, the peace of mind of having the generator is HUGE, we’ve just had it a few days now….

 

ONE THING this wet weather is good for: my Hubby is a wild edibles connoisseur. Our spring morel mushroom tree has given way to these Oyster mushrooms. He’s eating the heck out of them fresh, and drying them for months from now…

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